Skip to main content

Inside the Business Enterprise

Historical Perspectives on the Use of Information

How do business enterprises control their subunits? In what ways do existing paths of communication within a firm affect its ability to absorb new technology and techniques? How do American banks affect how companies operate? Do theoretical constructs correspond to actual behavior?

Because business enterprises are complex institutions, these questions can prove difficult to address. All too often, firms are treated as the atoms of economics, the irreducible unit of analysis. This accessible volume, suitable for course use, looks more closely at the American firm—into its internal workings and its genesis in the Gilded Age. Focusing on the crucial role of imperfect and asymmetric information in the operation of enterprises, Inside the Business Enterprise forges an innovative link between modern economic theory and recent business history.

268 pages | 12 halftones, 2 figures, 10 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1991

National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report

Economics and Business: Business--Business Economics and Management Studies, Economics--History

Table of Contents

Introduction by Peter Temin
1. Business History and Recent Economic Theory: Imperfect Information, Incentives, and the Internal Organization of Firms
Daniel M. G. Raff and Peter Temin
Comment: David A. Hounshell
2. Managing by Remote Control: Recent Management Accounting Practice in Historical Perspective
H. Thomas Johnson
Comment: Peter Tufano
3. The Use of Cost Measures: The Dow Chemical Company, 1890-1914
Margaret Levenstein
Comment: Barry Supple
4. Investing the Information: Supply and Demand Forces in the Use of Information in American Firms, 1850-1920
JoAnne Yates
Comment: Bengt R. Holmstrom
5. Information Problems and Banks’ Specialization in Short-Term Commercial Lending: New England in the Nineteenth Century
Naomi R. Lamoreaux
Comment: Charles W. Calomiris
6. Did J. P. Morgan’s Men Add Value? An Economist’s Perspective on Financial Capitalism
J. Bradford De Long
Comment: Charles F. Sabel
Name Index
Subject Index

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press